Magazine article Working Mother

Dream Teams

Magazine article Working Mother

Dream Teams

Article excerpt

The clock starts ticking as soon as a patient enters JFK Medical Center. When a mom of two was brought into the ER unconscious, the hospital's stroke team marshaled its forces. "She had symptoms that fit a stroke," recalls one member of the team, Lorna Sohn Williams, MD, a Korean-American neuroradiologist and mom of two herself. But to confirm that diagnosis, Lorna and her teammates had to perform testing beyond the usual CAT scan. Less than a year old, the multicultural stroke team brings together more than a dozen emergency medicine experts. Through their efforts, the patient had a complete recovery. "As a team, we're diverse in terms of our backgrounds and our races. The unifying factor is that we're all committed to excellence and improving patient care," Lorna says.

Working mothers like Lorna are finding that diversity at work helps broaden their perspective, whether they're problem-solving with colleagues from other departments or with business partners who have fresh viewpoints.

Just as seamless teamwork can save lives at JFK, it's also helping IBM Corporation employees work with their business partners on an ambitious effort to chart genetic history. And at the General Electric Company, a team with women managers is doing untraditional work, developing the company's next generation of military engines. JFK, GE and IBM are among the Working Mother 100 Best Companies. Their stories of fruitful teamwork follow.


Using teamwork to save lives

Even before a patient arrives at this hospital in Atlantis, FL, the teamwork has begun: Paramedics at the scene evaluate the patient and alert the stroke team that a patient is on the way. At the hospital, a radiologist performs a CAT scan of the patient's brain to determine whether the stroke was caused by a blood clot, and the teamwork continues. "It is very intense, very collaborative," says Lorna's teammate Andrea Wright-Mattis, an African-American nurse manager and mother of three. Adds Lorna: "We've had so many meetings together and so much prep, we have a very efficient, smooth system. All members of the team know exactly what their role is."

Emergency physicians, nurses, lab workers, radiologists and neurologists work together in the ER to determine whether they have a good candidate for a clot-busting drug known as tPA, which stands for tissue plasminogen activator. Given within three hours of a patient's first symptoms, an injection of tPA can help dissolve clots blocking the blood vessels and restore blood flow to the brain. "It's changed the way strokes are treated," says James Goldenberg, MD, the stroke center's medical director and a dad of two.

When the CAT scan indicates bleeding in the brain, James Jaffe, MD, the hospital's director of neurointerventional radiology, may step in. He can treat an aneurysm by inserting a catheter into a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. "If there's bleeding with a stroke, I go in immediately," he says, "because there's no other treatment." He admits that doctors can have tunnel vision when it comes to their expertise, and he appreciates the team's broader perspective. "When you have a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail to you," he says. "I always think of a catheter-based treatment, but others on the team might suggest another approach, which, of course, is very helpful." Despite the time pressure, he says, his team will take ten minutes to discuss a patient with each other before agreeing on the best approach.

The team has not only widened everyone's understanding of stroke care, it "makes me feel that I'm never alone," says Andrea. "There's always someone on the team I can turn to for a second opinion."

James Goldenberg adds: "When I'm treating a stroke patient, I'm not standing alone. I'm surrounded by a bunch of caring, interested people from a multidisciplinary team who know what they're doing and can really help."

Another stroke team member, Marylin Péerez Payne, who is a Cuban-born clinical pharmacist and mom of two, found another area of common interest with her colleague Andrea: They easily bonded talking about their children. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.